It may seem like a long time ago now, but it was only in May this year (2010) that the coalition government, fresh out of the election, announced that the much-disliked Home Information Pack (HIP) was to be abolished.
From mid-December 2007 until this year agents were required to commission a HIP before marketing your property, a document costing between £250 and £500 to complete and that had to include an index of contents; an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a sale statement, evidence of title (for registered and unregistered properties); local searches; and leasehold or commonhold documents where appropriate.
Coalition ministers said scrapping HIPs would save sellers nearly £900 million in fees and would help the fragile property market through the recession, a point on which Kirsty Allsopp – who was a vocal critic when HIPs were introduced – applauded.
The HIP bowed out with few if any supporters lamenting its departure with the exception of the 3,000 HIPs inspectors who lost their jobs. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said it thought HIPs had ‘failed’ to address any of the problems in the conveyancing process (such as gazumping, gazundering, wasted survey fees, buyers pulling out of a sale before going to exchange) which continue today.
One hangover from HIPs is Energy Performance Certificates, which used to be part of a HIP but are not being scrapped. These are a ‘green audit’ of a house and must still be produced before a property can be put on the market.